meticulous

adjective
me·​tic·​u·​lous | \ mə-ˈti-kyə-ləs How to pronounce meticulous (audio) \

Definition of meticulous

: marked by extreme or excessive care in the consideration or treatment of details a meticulous researcher

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Other Words from meticulous

meticulosity \ mə-​ˌti-​kyə-​ˈlä-​sə-​tē How to pronounce meticulosity (audio) \ noun
meticulously \ mə-​ˈti-​kyə-​ləs-​lē How to pronounce meticulously (audio) \ adverb
meticulousness \ mə-​ˈti-​kyə-​ləs-​nəs How to pronounce meticulousness (audio) \ noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for meticulous

Synonyms

careful, conscientious, fussy, loving, painstaking, scrupulous

Antonyms

careless

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Choose the Right Synonym for meticulous

careful, meticulous, scrupulous, punctilious mean showing close attention to detail. careful implies attentiveness and cautiousness in avoiding mistakes. a careful worker meticulous may imply either commendable extreme carefulness or a hampering finicky caution over small points. meticulous scholarship scrupulous applies to what is proper or fitting or ethical. scrupulous honesty punctilious implies minute, even excessive attention to fine points. punctilious observance of ritual

Meticulous Has Fearful Roots

It may surprise you to learn that meticulous is derived from the Latin word for "fearful" - meticulosus - and ultimately comes from the Latin noun metus, meaning "fear." Although meticulous currently has no "fearful" meanings, it was originally used as a synonym of frightened and timid. This sense had fallen into disuse by 1700, and in the 19th century meticulous acquired a new sense of "overly and timidly careful" (probably influenced by the French word méticuleux). This in turn led to the current meaning of "painstakingly careful," with no connotations of fear at all. The newest use was controversial among some usage commentators at first, but it has since become by far the most common meaning and is no longer considered an error.

Examples of meticulous in a Sentence

Always meticulous about his appearance in the past, he had become dirty and unkempt, with straggly hair, stained clothes, and patches of silver stubble on his chin. — Minette Walters, Fox Evil, 2002 She was very much the craftswoman, all her work meticulous, slow, perfect. — Simon Winchester, The Professor and the Madman, 1998 In dense, meticulous arguments … Brooten mounts an assault on that view. — Cullen Murphy, Atlantic, August 1993 He described the scene in meticulous detail. He is meticulous about keeping accurate records.
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Recent Examples on the Web

Lithgow plays Ed, a meticulous doomsday prepper who buys canned goods, batteries and gas every day and stashes it in a secret bunker. Katie Walsh, Twin Cities, "‘Tomorrow Man’ script fails fascinating characters, but Danner, Lithgow shine," 6 June 2019 But for an author so meticulous about the complexity of Middle-Earth, the story can't quite scratch the surface of Tolkien's mostly Boy Scout-like reputation. Darren Orf, Popular Mechanics, "'Tolkien': A Life Where Fantasy Met Reality," 3 May 2019 The dish is topped with raw aori ika (reef squid), which melts in your mouth thanks to meticulous knife work that Fantin hones with everyday practice. Stan Parish, WSJ, "‘Go Beyond Sushi’: Tokyo’s Culinary Gems," 19 June 2018 Woods has become a meticulous underneath route-runner who occasionally surprises with big-play ability. Andy Benoit, SI.com, "The NFL’s Most Dynamic Team? 10 Thoughts on the 2018 Rams," 18 June 2018 Even with the most meticulous budgeting, a few unexpected costs are bound to crop up. Christina Oehler, Allure, "A Bride Canceled Her Wedding Because "Selfish" Guests Refused to Pay $1,500 Each," 27 Aug. 2018 With the week's Halloween festivities come hours of meticulous costume preparation and special effects–worthy makeup—whether for a look inspired by your favorite French royal, '50s Hollywood film star, or iconic scream queen. Jenna Rennert, Vogue, "9 Makeup Removers for Halloween and Beyond," 30 Oct. 2018 Their meticulous work was a reminder to me of the beauty of those lights. Jacques Kelly, baltimoresun.com, "Remembering Baltimore's magical glow from gaslights on a summer night," 14 July 2018 Analysts say the gesture of sending the letter itself is part of the meticulous steps North Korea is taking to present Kim as a legitimate international statesman who is reasonable and capable of negotiating solutions and making deals. CBS News, "Pushing the envelope? Kim Jong Un's massive letter to Trump," 2 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'meticulous.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of meticulous

1827, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for meticulous

earlier, "fearful," borrowed from Latin metīculōsus, metūculōsus "timid, apprehensive," from metū-, stem of metus "fear, dread" (of uncertain origin) + -culōsus (in perīculōsus "involving danger, perilous")

Note: The senses "overscrupulous," then "careful, scrupulous" may depend on French méticuleux, for which these meanings are attested somewhat earlier than in English.

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Dictionary Entries near meticulous

methysergide

metic

metical

meticulous

métier

metif

métis

Statistics for meticulous

Last Updated

12 Jun 2019

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Time Traveler for meticulous

The first known use of meticulous was in 1827

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More Definitions for meticulous

meticulous

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of meticulous

: very careful about doing something in an extremely accurate and exact way

meticulous

adjective
me·​tic·​u·​lous | \ mə-ˈtik-yə-ləs How to pronounce meticulous (audio) \

Kids Definition of meticulous

: showing extreme or excessive care in thinking about or dealing with small details a meticulous description

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Comments on meticulous

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